The other day I got sick—a pretty rare occurrence in all the years I’ve lived in sunny Mexico. Since it was a major holiday and offices were closed, I headed to the local clinic’s emergency room. A doctor examined me, took a case history, and prescribed some medications. The entire cost—for the ER visit plus my prescription meds—was about $38.
I figure that in the U.S. I would probably pay 10 times that much just for the emergency room care…even if I had insurance.
Affordable health care in Mexico
Health care in Mexico is inexpensive and good—and it’s one of the benefits of living here that I most appreciate.
Pretty much across the board, health care in Mexico costs from a quarter to a half of what you’ll pay in the U.S. Doctor’s visits, for instance—even to see a specialist—generally run only $35 to $50.
Overnight hospital stays, in a semi-private room in an excellent hospital, can cost as little as $80 a night. Lab tests, medical devices like hearing aids and prostheses, dental care…most of these show similar savings.
With costs this low, you can afford to pay out of pocket for many health care needs—and lots of expats here do just that.
But if you want health insurance in Mexico, it’s affordable, too. With a residence visa for Mexico, which I have, you qualify to sign up for Mexico’s nationalized health plan, IMSS. The top rate, for those 60 and older, is less than $300 a year.
Prefer private health insurance in Mexico? Rates vary, but you’ll likely pay a fraction of what you’d pay for a U.S. policy.
And in Mexico you don’t have to compromise on quality of care. Many Mexican doctors, especially those working in private hospitals, have done part of their medical studies in the U.S., Canada and Europe. They’re up to date in their medical field. And because of those overseas studies, they often speak excellent English.
There are first-rate hospitals all over the country. Most large Mexican cities, in fact, have several good hospitals to choose from.
A number of excellent private hospital chains operate facilities in cities throughout the country—including medium-sized cities that may be attractive to expats.
Two such Mexican-owned chains are the Angeles Health Services group and Star Medica. The Angeles group is the largest private hospital chain in Mexico. It has 23 hospitals in 14 cities, including Puebla; Querétaro and Leon, in the Colonial Highlands; Tijuana; and in Xalapa, capital of Veracruz. Star Medica operates in five Mexican cities, including Mérida.
In addition, U.S.-based hospital chains Christus Muguerza and CIMA have hospitals offering first-rate care. Both groups operate primarily in northern Mexico. (Christus Muguerza does have a hospital in Chiapas, however, less than an hour from the expat haven of San Cristóbal de las Casas.)
Whatever hospital or clinic you choose, you’ll likely find one constant: In addition to its low cost and high quality, health care in Mexico tends to retain a caring quality that is largely lost in the U.S. And, as the ad says, that’s priceless.
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